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  • Vikram Chabra

Why Attack Surface Management (ASM) is a Force Multiplier for Cybersecurity

Today’s cybersecurity teams are up against a formidable opponent. Is Attack Surface Management the answer? Let’s explore…


Cyber attackers have many potent and proven threats to strike with, including variations that are constantly emerging with characteristics more sophisticated, evasive, or aggressive than what we saw before. The challenge is twofold: attacks are getting more frequent, and so is the number of potential targets they have as companies depend on growing amounts of technology. Cyber crime has attracted both criminal and political actors, both of which are willing to invest huge amounts of time and resources to bypass security and undermine systems. And if the situation looks bad now...prepare for it to get much worse as bad actors takes advantage of AI to scale the size, speed, and sophistication of their attacks.


Up against opponents with deep pockets, cutting-edge tech, and powerful motivations, the average team faces an uphill climb. Limited resources in terms of time, budget, staff, and technology mean that no matter how hard many teams fight, their efforts can’t match the adversary’s. It’s a constant battle, and the other side is gaining an edge and pulling ahead in many ways.


In this climate, the solution for security teams isn’t yet another piece of technology. That’s not enough. Achieving cybersecurity that can prevent attacks, preserve compliance, and protect competitiveness requires a force multiplier: one solution that makes everything stronger so that cybersecurity resilience grows by orders of magnitude—without having a similar effect on budgets, staff requirements, or stress levels.

Very few options meet both requirements, with one notable exception: Attack Surface Management.


The Basics of Attack Surface Management


Attack surface management involves discovering any weakness that attackers could exploit and fixing it before they do.


It starts by understanding what, exactly, the surface includes, from all internet-facing assets to any shadow IT people might be using. The process continues by finding any vulnerabilities, from misconfigurations to broken authentication (and many more), that could help attackers undermine security measures, access data resources, or advance through systems. In the complex world of inter-related tech, this is ‘needle-in-the-haystack' work that MUST be unearthed.


Upon locating the “red flags” in the attack surface, the focus shifts to analyzing threat intelligence to understand what kinds of attacks might be incoming and where/how they may strike. It’s getting ahead of the problem BEFORE it becomes a problem. Done correctly, this allows security teams to rank the red flags by risk and prioritize which to remediate first. The final step is systematically fixing each flaw, starting with the worst, so that incoming attacks—whether known or unknown, old or new, basic or sophisticated—can’t weaponize them.

The result: attacks fail upon arrival, long before they have any consequences or even set off alarm bells.


The Benefits of Attack Surface Management


Every security tool makes life harder for attackers, so what makes attack surface management a “force multiplier” delivering a return that far exceeds the investment?

First, attack surface management is a form of offensive cybersecurity designed to outmaneuver hackers and neutralize attacks early. Stopping attacks at the security perimeter takes pressure off the security team and has significant downstream effects. Teams have fewer successful attacks to defend against and less damage to clean up, empowering them to make the most of their time and resources. In that way, a strong offense leads to an even stronger defense where the people and tools currently in place are more effective at stopping attacks, resulting in a greater ROI from ALL security investments. Attack surface management is a force multiplier and also a value multiplier.


Second, attack surface management is ripe for both automation and outsourcing. While the work involved with finding vulnerabilities, comparing them against threat intel, and diagnosing the fix is significant, much of it can be automated. Service providers can set up that automation, align it with the infrastructure and business strategy, and keep everything running optimally. The barrier to entry for attack surface management is low even for SMB’s, making it an accessible addition with an outsize effect on overall security.


Granted, attack surface management isn’t a silver bullet for cybersecurity. Keeping cybersecurity risks and costs under control takes additional components—but the attack surface is a prime place to start. Most teams aren’t doing enough to manage the attack surface, usually because their responsibilities are so extensive already. That’s understandable, but it leaves exposures untouched and puts security teams at a disadvantage. Cybersecurity just isn’t complete without addressing the attack surface proactively AND making it a complement to defensive capabilities.

Fortunately, a new generation of security service providers makes it both accessible and effective through innovative combinations of tools, tactics, and service offerings. Once in place, attack surface management doesn’t just multiply forces, it does something even greater: completes cybersecurity to present a united front extending from the inside out, outside in, and all around in 360 degrees.


Attack Surface Management Made Easy


NopalCyber is on a mission to democratize cybersecurity and put enterprise-grade cybersecurity into the hands of any organization, so attack surface management plays a big role in what we do.

Our process, in the hands of our seasoned security experts, reliably tracks down exposures across the entire attack surface and analyzes the most efficient and effective solution. Managing the attack surface becomes as easy as following our actionable guidance, which is ranked by priority and streamlined for quick response.

This force multiplier is in place, ready to round out your protection. Let us know how we can help get you started.

 

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